To be honest, I didn’t even know Risen existed until I received an invite to a screening of it. Before I RSVP’d I watched one trailer and discovered that film might be an intense, thriller-esque take on what happened after Jesus was crucified.
The first two-thirds of Risen isn’t half-bad. Sure, it kind of plays out like a weird episode of Law & Order, as Clavius (Joseph Fiennes in “this is an important role” mode) and Lucius (Tom Felton as Tom Felton) interrogate the people of Jerusalem in attempt to figure out exactly what happened to the body of some fella named Yeshua (Jesus – played stoically by Cliff Curtis), but it’s executed well enough that I found myself fairly interested and drawn in by the whole affair. Then in the third act there’s a long walk that happens, along with some forced rapport building between Clavius and Jesus’ disciples, and it was at this point that I had a major flashback to when I would sit at church and think about all of the things I could be doing besides sitting at church. Oof. In addition to be boring, the final chunk of Risen also takes a hit on the production side. It goes from feeling fairly well put together, to coming across as cheap and hokey. I think that’s also why I couldn’t wait to escape it.
As a film lover, I can’t recommend Risen. It’s an okay at best effort with a few interesting tidbits that totally fizzle out by the time its 107 minutes are through.
One Last Thought:
I’m curious to know what someone far more religious than me thinks of Risen. Is it nice just to have that particular story presented on such a large scale, regardless as to whether or not it has been greatly done? Or – even if Jesus is your homeboy – is a mediocre film just a mediocre film?